Filed under: doubt, emotions, Gardening, love, poetry, Uncategorized, writing
A sestina, written early in the relationship with the king of vacillant winds and discarded dreams.
It was my birthday when we met,
and I was first enveloped in your smoke.
We wandered, my skin burning, in the garden.
your friend trailed behind, embodying my doubts.
Compared to the maelstrom of my thoughts,
I barely said a word.
Perhaps I have way with words,
but only in subversive meetings
with myself where my thoughts
are suffocated in smoke
What do you care to grow in your garden?
Are you even a proper gardener?
Carefully choose your words
and silences. My doubts
are hungry and eager to meet
the man behind the smoke
usurping my productive thoughts.
Should I share the thoughts
I’ve etched into my garden
sand? Will they dissipate like the smoke
from your cigarettes and the words
from your mouth when our lips meet?
Can you cripple my doubt
or am I right in doubting
your capacity to calm my thoughts?
When you and my id have finally met,
will you still want our infested garden?
Will you cull it with your words
or gas it in a pesticide smoke?
I can tolerate the smoke.
I can breath in poisons and exhale the doubts
and come up with clever wording
for my thoughts,
but I let noxious weeds flourish in the garden.
They grow so tall our eyes cannot meet.
Words unspoken each meeting
planted this doubt in the garden…
and smoke does not slow the infestation of thoughts.
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: blister beetles, oragnic pest control, organic gardening, pests
You see this bug? Handsome fellow, right? I thought so when I snapped this photo last week. He was just chilling on my Echinacea, seeming to pollinate it like a nice beneficial beetle. Oh how wrong I was. Just when I thought nothing could be worse than last year’s discovery of wood cockroaches living (gasp) outside and being attracted to my porch light, I meet this grey asshat.
Fuck this bug. Fuck it with large, red-hot pokey objects while its pupae watch. This twatwaffle is known as the blister beetle. Why blister beetle? Well, that’s because its bodily fluids cause blister-like injuries to skin…particularly when crushed. Here’s an image of an injury caused by a blister beetle from blogger Holly Scoggins.
But wait! There’s more! Not only does this beetle want to hurt you with its toxic fluids in a final wave of its middle tentent hair, but it also would like to devour every plant in your garden leaving lovely lace plant art in its wake. Their favorite foods are many of your favorite foods including, but not limited to alfalfa, beet, eggplant, potato, beans, soybean, peas, sugar beet, and tomato. They will also eat flower blooms. Gardeners with large infestations have even reported the bugs eating forming fruits. Alfalfa containing live beetles or even fluids from crushed beetles may kill horses if eaten in large enough quantities. Oh, and it also leaves large, black droppings (that resemble slightly smaller rabbit turds) in its wake.
Below are my potatoes in early July. They looked lovely and bushy like this, and were flowering in mid-July.
Below are my potatoes as of today, July 28th, about a week after I spotted the first blister beetle in my garden. I used the bucket (which contains about 2 inches of soapy water) to drown the little douchenozzels after picking them off my potatoes one by one. The soap bubbles break the surface tension of the water, making it impossible for the bug to climb out of the bucket.
The little shitheels like to fall to the ground and play dead when in danger. It did not help them. I sprayed the ground with water to flush more of them out, showing them as much mercy as they’d shown my potato plants. One of the fuckrags attempted to escape into my hair, but he too was cast into the bucket to drown with his brethren. They do have wings, but seem loathe to use them. I left the bucket outside, and have been returning every few hours to toss more into the bucket.
Unfortunately, the horror doesn’t stop at skin rashes and decimated gardens. They also feed on bee eggs. Last year, I was hard pressed to go outside and not see a few different types of bees (largely carpenter bees) feeding on the nectar of my various wildflowers. This year, I hardly see any bees, and absolutely no carpenter bees. As both carpenter bees and blister beetles are known to nest in the ground, I suspect the worst. Meanwhile, the grasshopper population is thriving and those crunchnuggets apparently think my irises are delicious. I don’t feel like a slightly lower grasshopper population is worth a vastly lowered population of bees.
Sooo… My control methods will not stop at drowning the motherfucking blister beetles. I also will be wetting the potatoes this evening before applying some food grade diatomaceous earth. Crawling insects will be treated to razor sharp pieces of fossilized phytoplankton working their way into their bodies and joints before dying of dehydration. Yay! The best part is, bees and most flying insects will be largely unharmed by it.
Then,this fall, I am not only throughly tilling the potato bed and all the raised gardens, to disturb and dry out out some larvae, but also plan to dump gallons of boiling water into them to help kill off eggs and larvae. MWHAHAHA!
For my fallen bee and plant friends: I will avenge you!
Filed under: flowers, Gardening, Nature, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: butterfly bush, flowers, gardening, iris, plants, square foot gardens, strawberries, zone 5
Most of the food garden is planted. Huzzah!
In the square foot garden have 4 types of corn, 2 types of peas, 2 types of lettuce, 2 types of spinach, 2 types of tomato, 2 types of peppers, watermelons, purple broccoli, pumpkins, nasturtium, marigolds, basil, parsley, celery, radishes, chives, onions, garlic, thyme, pole beans, and chamomile. I have also planted a sunflower in one of the large pots we bought last year as it’s previous resident (a hollyhock) didn’t survive the winter. On a sad note, between the cats using the apple tree as a scratching post last winter and the expanding and contracting bark, the grafted parts of the apple tree Chris bought are all dead. The base tree is still alive, and budding leaves, but he thinks it is likely a crabapple tree. We plan to dig it up one of these days 😦 However, my border of happy strawberry plants and the red raspberry bush have returned in full-force. The wild black raspberries are already starting to form flowers.
In the flower department, I am looking for more places to plant irises. I have somewhere around 50 plants living in a shady spot where they don’t bloom as well as the others. There are also several I’d like to take out of my wild-flower bed. Although I’ve sold a few orders of rhizomes at $9.50 for 5, it hasn’t really made a dent in the number of plants I need to relocate. A few days ago, I moved a clump of about 20 flowers out of the shade to around the base of the mailbox. I dumped some collected rain water over them and have since left them to fend for themselves. If they do well without much watering, I’ll plant another ring of them at the base our address pole.
Also, there is a spot of death in my iris bed where I suspect a low point in the garage roof causes wet, almost boggy soil after rains. The spot of death has already claimed two hyacinth plants, a few tulips, and a host of irises. Even my wildflowers seem to dislike the soil extremes. I’ve bought some dutch iris bulbs for that spot as I read that they will tolerate the wetness and apparently will even grow in standing water… we’ll see how they do. I’ve also sown two milkweed (also bog-tolerant) there to attract monarch butterflies with seeds gathered from my dad’s place last winter.
The landscape zone near the front stairs is growing my three butterfly bushes. They are doing well despite dying back all the way to the ground after the harsh winter. However, something seems to be eating the leaves of front-most bush.. I suspect it may have been a white moth caterpillar as I noticed a fully formed one hanging out in the vicinity earlier this week. The large barrel contains the afore-mentioned sunflower and I’ve sown baby’s breath around his feet. Beside the barrel are two happy hollyhock plants, in the future they are all going directly in the ground and the large pots will be for annuals only. In front of the barrel I will be planting my lavender plant once it has hardened off. I’ve also added two gladiolas in-between the hollyhocks planted yarrow in front of the hollyhocks. I’ll take photos when more of my plants start to grow.
The other landscape zone near the garage will have to be expanded as the large pot became more of rain-barrel last year, drowning the hollyhock I attempted to plant there. We’ll be moving the pot forward and out of the drip-line and as it is a somewhat shady spot, I’ll be planting pansies, poppies, and nasturtium in it.
Some of my perennial wild flowers are returning, including blanket flowers, plains coreopsis, and wallflowers. I see several places bachelor’s buttons have self-sowed. I’ve replanted covolvus as well as sweet peas and I’ll be putting in some scabiosa, candytuft, 3 more gladiolas. I am also considering replanting parts of the lawn overrun by weeds with chamomile in the sun and spiderwort in the shade. The trick will be waiting for a day without wind!
Filed under: art, Gardening, Nature, sculpture | Tags: aloe, art, Etsy, gardening, handmade, plants, pots, sculpture, yarrow
I have been busy crafting!
Click the pictures to go to the listings in my store.
I’ve got some alien pots in the oven right now. Pictures when I paint them.
Filed under: flowers, Gardening, Nature, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: flowers, fruits, gardening, home improvement, Square Foot Gardening, vegetables
This year Chris and I have been experimenting with Square Foot Gardening. At first, this idea was, frankly, not on my agenda. However, since caring for a bed built in this fashion as well as three other beds built with more traditional means, I’m a believer.
When I moved here, the only flowers on the place that I was aware of were two clumps of irises which had been untended for an estimated 10 years. A clump of purple irises resided by the machine shed, and were mowed weekly, and a clump of yellow irises were allowed to grow and bloom by the garage. The yellow irises grew at the end of what used to be a flower bed, but had since been mostly overrun by weeds.
I dedicated my first summer here to digging out the weeds there and poking fun at Chris for his bed of nettles and tall grasses. I had learned the hard way (when I attempted to fix the overrun flower beds at my aunt’s house) that one really has to dig a good two feet into the ground to properly remove nettle roots. Given only a spade as a tool, and working alone, it took quite a long time. I only managed to dig up and replant half the space with iris bulbs thinned from the existing clump. Occasionally, Chris dubiously regarded my work and said he hoped it would look nice.
Lo and behold, come this spring, it did. He was impressed with the thick and attractive foliage from the irises, and apparently was reassured about my gardening skills. Together, we dug up the rest of the bed of nettles and tall grasses and I planted it full of irises. The yellow ones I separated last year bloomed for us. There are three colors in the bed, ( a friend traded me purple and yellow for some pale white-blue blooms) so hopefully they will cross-pollinate next year and give us some new colors. Sadly, some tulips and hydrangea planted in the same bed seem to have not appreciated the sun and wind.
Once I’d finished planting those, I decided to put in a bed of flowers on the side of the house. We dug it up and made it happen, discovering a rose bush in the same location that had presumably been mowed for 10 years. In the bed, I planted some daylilies which I had discovered wilting in the shade under over-grown bushes
Now on an improvement kick, Chris and I examined the front yard where there used to be “scraggly” bushes next to the house. With dreams of a vegetable garden in the location, we started digging…and discovered lots and lots of rocks. We discussed some options, when I suggested raised beds and planting more flowers there instead.
Chris didn’t give up on the vegetable garden idea, and did some research on growing produce in raised beds before settling on Square Foot Gardening. He ordered the book, which followed him everywhere for quite a while. He modified the design slightly to make the space only two feet wide so it could sit against the house. He bought wood, weed mats, and special dirt. Occasionally, I dubiously regarded his work and said I hoped it would look nice.
Lo and behold, later in the year it did My favorite part is the complete lack of weeds! The worst I deal with is the occasional mushroom. We eagerly tried planting a few things out of season which are looking sorta..crispy, but most of our plants really like the space. I planted some flowers in the space including lavender, marigolds, hollyhocks and scabiosa. I finally read the book. Although Mel Bartholomew is a bit of self-promoter, I cannot fault his method. It takes many of the same principals from growing plants indoors and applies them to outdoor gardening. We now have a plan for our tiny little garden next spring. It will be 48 square feet packed full of more than 21 different kinds of plant.
We have few tweaks to make to the space. We’re looking for containers suitable for composting. Nets for vining plants are being delivered theoretically sometime next week. We also plan to move the hollyhocks to barrels beforethe end of season… which shouldn’t much of a problem with this method. In fact, I’ve already rearranged a few of the plants. Since the addition of three new beds (to cover half the length of the house) I’ve relocated bush 4 bush tomatoes and a “Jack Be Little” pumpkin plant.
In addition to the Square Foot Garden and flower bed we also shored a side walk and put in a strawberry border, and planted a red raspberry bush. Shortly after planting the red raspberries, we discovered wild black raspberries had colonized a section of land behind the tractor building. I haven’t even mentioned any of my indoor plants! Project: Pretty up the Place is in effect!